Verdict on the Living Cooking

I’ve been playing around with my Living Cookbook software, and I wanted to share a few of my thoughts.

It is one serious program. I don’t know if I would recommend it for the hobby chef. It’s excellent, but unless you’ve got some major league recipes to keep track of, I don’t know if it’s worth the time. It costs about $30 (there is a discount if you buy multiple copies at once), so it’s not a bad option if you want a professional looking cookbook to sell at church or for a FRG.

Pros:

  • It does open and transfer into other programs like Word well.
  • Every aspect of the layout is customizable.
  • It is possible to insert pictures and even videos.
  • It has calendar, menu planning, and grocery list features, which make the program useful for more than publishing a cookbook.
  • The help and tutorials were obvious and thorough. More than a basic knowledge of computers was still needed however.

Cons:

  • It isn’t as easy as it looks into extract information from online recipes. It requires a lot of tweaking post transfer to get everything in the appropriate fields.
  • It has an extensive list of ingredients already inputted in the database, which is necessary if you want to utilize the nutrition panel it creates for you. I find it handy, but I have several Latin recipes, and those ingredients aren’t in the database. It is possible to input them yourself, but it requires going to the manufacturer’s website or food label and getting calorie counts and such.
  • The program works like a mixture of a web browser, Word, and Access database, which takes a bit to learn how to move in the program. I’m pretty computer savvy, and this really slowed me up.
  • The recipes you add automatically go into the provided recipe cookbooks until you create a separate one. Who wants Grammy’s holiday bunt cake mixed in with recipes you’ve never even tried before?

Here’s a screenshot of what the finished product looks like.

The Product Of A Foodie And A Geek

To make a long story short, I was looking into computer software for my mother-in-law, and  I found The Living Cookbook online.  It sounded so great, I bought a license for myself.  I’m so ridiculously excited!!

It just came in the mail today, so I can’t speak to exactly how much I like it yet, but it promises to do everything but cook for me.  It can organize recipes, give nutrition information, plan meals, create shopping lists, and even “capture” recipes that I find online.  It comes with some recipes, although I’m most excited about being able to input my own that I’ve collected from the far corners of the earth and organizing them.  Being able to search is going to be great.  And if you want, you can print out your own cookbook, and it will make a table of contents and organize the recipes by type.

I sit down every weekend and plan out a menu for the week before I go shopping.  It keeps me on a budget and keeps me from stockpiling items that don’t get used before they spoil.  Plus I’m horrible at shopping off the cuff and tend to come home with only half of my ingredients list.  I’m hoping this software will make that job super fast because I want to use it like an index for my regularly used recipes, especially the ones I gather online or from cookbooks at the library.

This is like a dream come true for totally weird, geeked-out foodies.  You know how easy it would be to make a family cookbook with this?!  I’ll try and remember to post an update once I have started using the software.

Sticky Weekend

I apologize for everyone who is still rejoicing at the mere sight of grass.  I was once one of you…but now I have moved on.

Three weeks ago (mid-April!) a friend and I went and picked strawberries.  They were delicioso!  Here’s before:


And here’s after:

Yay for jam!  I think we made three batches and ended up with close to 20 jars.  We sorta got carried away with the picking stage of this process and had to do something with all the berries.  Oops.

If you haven’t tried canning and making jam, it’s so easy and super fun.  It’s even better if you have a friend who’s interested too.  Kind of like a sticky girls day in.  I have this site bookmarked and rely on it all the time.  It has absolutely every piece of information you need to find local farmers markets and u-pick farms, recipes, step-by-step guidelines, and even where to buy canning kits and supplies.  It’s not that expensive to start, and most WalMarts have canning sections during the summer and fall.  Every year I try something different.  This year I’m thinking pickles, but I have no idea when cucumber season is down here.

Anywho…we also left the farm with one of these apiece.

I chose a small cabbage too.  We clearly got in over our heads.  But it was ah-mazing with onions and cheese.

A Weekend Thwarted

I was so excited to get in the yard and get gardening this weekend, but the weather turned cold and rainy.  Poo.  I got green beans in over a week ago.  Hopefully I get a longer season in than last year.  I didn’t account for the shift in growing seasons when you move farther south and a lot of my veggies fried in the sun by late July.  I’m going to get a few herbs going inside I think.  I want to try tomatoes again this year.  They never really produced for me last year, but my green peppers did really well albeit a little late.  I joked that I was going to do a couple rows of corn just to send DH over the edge.  He thinks I’m a natural plant killer.  I’ll show him.

I redirected my efforts to an amazing banana bread.  Tucker posted the recipe a few days ago and it got my taste buds working.  I love that it’s made without butter.  I need to find the charger for the camera so I can post pictures.

My lazy weekend is over too soon.  It’s back to work tomorrow.  I’ve been struggling a lot with work lately.  It deserves it’s own post, and I need some time to figure out what I want to say exactly.  I’ve been getting more and more frustrated with where I’m at, but it’s not the job in theory.  I say that, but last Friday I had to sit through someone clipping their toenails on the couch in the magazine area.  Party foul, People!  Anyway, on paper I love this job.  I love my regular patrons.  I love knowing what they like to read, having it ready for them, and our quick conversations once a week.  Sounds great…but so does communism on paper.  Ugh.

You know, what I really need is to win the millions.

Update

I indulged in a little emotional baking and chocolate chip therapy last night.  My uterus is temporarily distracted, but I don’t think my jeans can take many more surprise attacks like yesterday.

Mutant Fruit

I picked two big buckets of the biggest pears I’ve ever seen today.  Some were like softballs…especially the one that fell and almost cracked my sunglasses.  A black eye for DH’s homecoming would make for extra special memories I suppose.

The pears were warm from the sun and delicious right off the tree.  They’re going to make the yummiest canned pears and pear butter tomorrow.

The caramel pear strudel I made tonight isn’t half bad either!

Odds And Ends

The clock is ticking down, and I’ve been staying busy as usual.  I tried so hard not to think about DH coming home, but I broke down and now I’m getting impatient.  No amount of busy work can keep my mind off the end at this point.

The Sick of Being Sick Challenge is…going.  I’m finding it easier to eat vegetarian than to get to the gym.  I’m not feeling as better as I’d hoped by these changes, which makes being active hard.  I had a doctor’s appointment today and got a referral (or more accurately with TriCare–a referral to get a referral) for a surgeon.  Ugh.  I don’t want to go down this path, but it’s looking like I must.

I’ve had lunch and dinner dates with a few ladies over the past few weeks.  It’s been lovely to socialize over a good meal.  It’s amazing how much better it can make you feel just to be surrounded by other people who really get it.  I don’t have to look at only my lonely dinner dishes afterward either.

On that same general topic…I’m sick of people who don’t get it.  That look of pity they give you when they find out your hubs is overseas is infuriating.  Don’t pity me.  I’m doing this mess and I’m doing it well.  And I really don’t need to be reminded just how hard/sad/painful it is.  Especially when it’s closing in on being over with, I’m excited now, not sad.

I’ve been working on redecorating my bedroom.  Is it redecorating if it was never really decorated to begin with?  Either way, I’ve been sanding and painting.  I’m determined to have this room done by the time DH comes home.  I have learned that I have an extreme hatred for sanding and painting in the process.

I thought I had more say.  Maybe I was just missing you all.  🙂  Until next time…

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